Dudley taxi colour rules to be reviewed after petition

Controversial rules permitting taxi drivers in Dudley to use only white-coloured cars will be reviewed after councillors agreed to re-think the decision.

Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association has been calling for Dudley Council to look again at its colour policy. Earlier this year councillors voted to keep the current rules – arguing it allowed customers to identify fully-licensed private taxis. But members of the association have continued to argue the case since signing a petition and the council’s taxis committee will now review the policy.

The association says white cars are more expensive because of the popularity of the colour – with some even forced to respray their vehicles to comply with the rule.

These costs are added to already high insurance premiums and fuel prices, group members claim.

The association has also argued that customers were used to seeing both white and silver private hire vehicles due to neighbouring boroughs having different colours.

The item is back on the agenda and will be considered at a meeting tonight when different options will be considered by the taxis committee.

They include keep the existing single-colour scheme,  allowing private hire vehicles to be any colour as long as they have the correct signs or deferring the decision until the publication of the Law Commissions recommendations on a law reform  for taxis and private hire services in April.

A report by Phillip Tart, director of corporate resources, which will go before councillors, says: “The taxis committee most recently considered this matter on March 13.

“The committee resolved that the proposal to amend the policy in relation to the colour of private hire vehicles, to allow the introduction of two colours be refused.

“Since this meeting the private hire trade have requested that the taxis committee reconsider their decision.”

Shaz Saleem, chairman of Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association, said he was pleased a review was taking place but he not want to comment until after the meeting.

The single-colour scheme  was introduced in 1996.

In April taxi drivers took their cars to the streets of Dudley town centre to hold a go-slow protest as part of its campaign.

Around 100 taxis were driven along Ednam Roand and to Priory Road, where the drivers blasted their horns going past the council house.

In February, the taxi association lost a fight against an increase in license fees.

Councillors agreed increase the cost of a license by two per cent, taking fees from £221.87 to £226.31. The costs will be reviewed again next year.

Members had argued that they had kept fares low for customers because of the difficult economic climate.

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